Sunday, 22 February 2015

Locating Lynn Brailey

Is your name Lynn Brailey? WAS your name Lynn Brailey? Then perhaps you are being sought.

Not for anything bad - this is Ladybird Land, for goodness sake.

 Let's go back a stage. Lots of old Ladybird Books have book plates in them showing that they were given as prizes for good attendance at some sort of club or Sunday School or worthy work at school. These book plates have their own charm and are part of the history of any used book. Ladybird Books were priced at 2 shillings and 6d for three decades and back in the 1940s that was a decent amount of money, so prize-giving was one way to ensure that children from less well-off families had books of their own to read. The only Ladybird Book of his own that my husband (one of 7) ever had was given as a prize. This book was 'Exploring Space' and was well-read and fell to pieces; most bookplates are found in the early Bible Story series books and are, as often as not, found many years later in pristine condition!

 Anyway, I've just started a Ladybird Book Facebook Group. I've never been much of a FB user but I can see that a group allows for much easier sharing and interaction than a website so if you like Ladybird Books, please join us One member has said that he would like to track down the owner of a book that he bought from a bric-a-brac shop on the quayside at Exeter about 5 years ago. His idea is to return it to its original owner, if such can be found and if she still wants it. So Lynn Brailey, who apparently was making good progress in Upper 2, probably in around 1968, if you would like your copy of 'Seashore and Seashore Life', please get in touch!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Is this Peter? Is this Jane?

Because of the huge success of the Key Word Reading scheme, especially in the 60s, 70s and 80s Peter and Jane are often synonymous with learning to read.  Their main predecessors, Janet and John, were popular in schools in the 1950s - but they weren't Ladybird Books.  Anyway, every child who appears in a Ladybird Book gets called Peter or Jane (or Janet or John).  But it you're reading this blog, you almost certainly know better.

Or do you?

Try this silly quiz:

(Sorry, iPad/iPhone users - it uses 'flash')

Well?  How did you do?

Monday, 2 February 2015


The first thing I want to say is 'Sorry'.  Just recently I feel as if, especially on Twitter, I've been talking about myself, rather than books - far too much.   All I can say in my defence is that this is a very little blip of wider interest in Ladybird which will die down very soon.  The 'Centenary' celebrations, the Bexhill-on-Sea exhibition and the forthcoming book have led to many extra visitors and unprecedented clamour in the quiet streets of Ladybird Land.  It won't last long.

But early reading of 'The Farmer', 'In The Country' and the works of Tunnicliffe have taught us, the inhabitants of this land, to Make Hay While the Sun Shines.

And so, [imagine this said with rueful, sideways looks and general air of bashfulness]  here I go again.

I'm going to be leading a 'tour' of the Ladybird by Design exhibition on St Valentines Day - 14th Feb 2015 in Bexhill.  I have no idea what this involves yet, but surely it can only mean walking round an interesting place, talking about something I love with people I'm bound to like?

It's free but there are tickets for this, which can be booked at the De La Warr Pavilion: 01424 229 111
If you can, please come.


 Here is a piece that the fascinating blog 'The Dabbler' has just published:

 I'm not sure about the use of the word 'obsessive' or that I completely agree with the statement that "Ladybird Books Took Over My Life" but my husband might well agree see things differently ...

Since in Ladybird Land a lack of self-deprecation is a crime punishable by expulsion, I need to point out that, although the Dabbler piece says it was 'posted by Helen Day' - I didn't post it.  I was actually approached and invited to write it. Honestly.

So please can I stay?